by Mike Potter
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats are home again tonight for the second of their three-game series with the Montgomery Biscuits, and they’ll try to regain a little bit of their momentum.
As per usual it is “Thirsty Thursday,” and there’s a decent crowd in the house.
Carolina sends ace Tom Cochran (7-3) to the hill tonight against David Newmann (3-6) in a battle of lefties.
And the Biscuits clinch the series, scoring in their last at-bat for a 4-3 victory.
Montgomery gets to Cochran early with a pair of runs in the first. With one out, Rashad Eldridge singles up the middle, and Nevin Ashley follows by launching a 2-2 pitch just over the short porch in right that used to be called Catfish Corner.
It goes to 3-0 in the third as Cody Cipriano draws a leadoff walk, takes third on Drew Anderson’s one-out double to left and scores on John Matulia’s double to right.
Devin Mesoraco cuts it to 3-1 with one out in the fourth, when he blasts the first pitch he sees down into Catfish Corner.
And the Mudcats tie it with a two-out rally in the sixth. Mesoraco singles to left to chase Newmann, and then Dave Sappelt greets lefty Josh Satow by blasting an 0-1 pitch high over the left-field wall to get Cochran off the hook.
But Montgomery wins it with two out in the ninth, as Eldridge walks, steals second and scores on Ashley’s single to center off Federico Baez.
Ashley is the hitting star for Montgomery with three hits for three RBI. Dane De La Rosa (6-1) gets the victory while Matthew Gorgen gets his second straight save and 19th of the season.
Sappelt finishes with two hits and two RBI while Mesoraco chips in two hits and the RBI. Baez suffers his first loss.
They said it …
Mudcats manager David Bell: “You always want to win those one-run games. Cochran, as well as he’s been pitching, we’re used to him keeping us in games and giving us an opportunity to win. Really, he did it again. It was a close game, but they got the big hit there at the end. … Mesoraco is right on track. He’s playing real well and coming right along.”
Montgomery manager Billy Gardner Jr.: “Ashley had some good at-bats. He’s a guy who always gives you good at-bats, and hitting third gives him an opportunity to get a lot more at-bats. … I don’t think we have their number. They’ve played us tough. We missed some opportunities early and then Cochran settled down. In the end we just found a way to win.”
Ashley: “I was just sitting back on the home run. (Cochran) throws a lot of changeups and I didn’t want to get beat by it, so I just sat back and hit it to the shortest part of the park. (On the winning hit) Eldridge had a good jump on the stolen base so I swung. I just tried to fight (Baez) off and went right up the middle fortunately.”
What does it all mean?
That the Mudcats may be dropping out of first place.
Play of the game
Ashley’s game-winning hit.
Stars of the game
Montgomery leads 5-2.
Carolina: Lost 2.
Montgomery: Won 2.
Montgomery at Mudcats, Friday, 7:15 p.m.
Jake McGee (L, 2-5, 3.46) vs. Travis Webb (L, 4-6, 5.37)